Conceptualization: refinement and specification of abstract concepts
1. Identify a concept
Concept/ Construct: abstract idea, thought, notion
commonly used concepts: race, racism, social class, homosexuality
Conceptualization: the process through which we produce a specific agreedupon meaning for the purpose
2. Come to some agreed upon conventional definition of the concept
Nominal definition: agreed upon or conventional definition to be used
3. Locate Indicators
Indicators: a sign of the presence or the absence of the concept
4. Plot the dimensions (look at the many sides of the concept)
Social Class: educating, wealth, income, source of income, employment, background
Love: physical, emotional, relational, spiritual…
5. Create an operational definition
Operational Definition: very clear, precise and measureable definition that is agreed upon
Operationalization: developing specific research procedures that will result in observing that concept in
the real world
How will you measure it?
e.x. “Blondes have more fun” – but, how do you measure fun?
When you measure, you have a range of choices in terms of how to construct and measure your
Mutually Exclusive & Exhaustive
Exclusive: fit into one and ONLY one category
Exhaustive: everyone can fit into a category (no one is excluded)
Example (problem case):
What was your pretax income last year?